A post by guest blogger, Todd Daningburg, adjunct professor at Northeastern Seminary.
Churches face the difficult, but not impossible, task of nurturing and developing people at all levels of spiritual maturity. Congregations likely include new Christians, others with more experience and training in following Christ, and still others who have lived long and committed lives of faith. Hopefully, there are also people who would not yet identify themselves as Christians, but who are present to learn from Christ-followers, encounter God’s truth, and discover God’s grace.
Based on Ephesians 4:11-13, an equipping model of ministry enables a local church to successfully foster the spiritual growth of all its members regardless of their starting point.
PREPARE AND EMPOWER OTHERS
The primary task of pastoral leadership is to equip people for ministry. Rather than do the entire ministry, this frees the clergy to encourage and facilitate the ministry of others. When one person tries to meet the needs of 100 people, the task can be overwhelming. However, if a pastor equips 10 others to share in ministry, his or her capabilities and effectiveness are multiplied exponentially.
KINDLE GIFTEDNESS AND CALLING
Every Christian is called and gifted for some type of ministry. Romans 12 and I Corinthians 12 are two passages indicating that every member of Christ’s body has a ministry. The fact that the Holy Spirit was poured out on all believers gathered at Pentecost (Acts 2) verifies that every Christian has been provided the necessary resources to help carry out the mission of God in the world.
ADVOCATE AND DEMONSTRATE “THE PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS”
The culture of the local church encourages everyone’s ministry potential. Rather than having a “dependency” model, in which the pastors “do ministry” and everyone else is a passive recipient, the mindset that “every member is a minister and every member has a ministry” is promoted and celebrated. People move from being consumers of ministry to becoming active participants in ministry. Pastors develop the perspective and habit of “giving ministry away.”
CREATE A FRAMEWORK
Systems that help people understand and use their spiritual gifts are developed and implemented. People are encouraged to experience ministry first-hand with opportunities for reflection and evaluation.
Ministry leaders are among the spiritual outfitters who prepare others to serve. In the church, with the right outfitting for ministry, spiritual hunger can be satisfied and lives nurtured toward maturity in Christ. How do you encourage the spiritual growth among the variety of people who are all at different places in their spiritual journey?
Todd Daningburg will be teaching Equipping the Laity on Monday evenings from February 27-March 26, 2012. Information about auditing this class can be found here.